Betty White passed away on December 31, 2021, just 17 days shy of her 100th birthday. While the world mourns the loss of one of the greatest comedy actresses of all time, we also honor the work of a lifelong animal advocate.
The self-proclaimed “zoo nut” started working with the LA Zoo when it first opened in 1966, joining the board of the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association in 1974 and remaining a trustee throughout her life. White used her platform as a TV star to raise awareness of animal causes through television shows like ‘The Pet Set’ and ‘Backstage at the Zoo’, but it wasn’t just exotic animals she championed.
Betty White adored dogs of all shapes and sizes, encouraging her fans to adopt mixed breeds long before it became common practice.
Dog mom to many over her lifetime, White’s final canine companion was Pontiac, a former guide dog given to her by Guide Dogs for the Blind, an organization she worked tirelessly for by sponsoring dogs, hosting benefits and raising money. Honored by the City of Los Angeles with the title of "Ambassador to the Animals" for her animal welfare efforts, she was also national ambassador for American Humane and had worked with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles (spcaLA) since the 1940s.